Improving on the Open Office Environment with Slack

At Atomic Object, we’ve always been big fans of the open office floor plan. Our offices consist of wide-open rooms with table groups where team members can easily work together. This environment allows spontaneous brainstorming sessions and problem-solving discussions to occur naturally throughout the day.

One thing that I really love about the open office setup is being able to hear bits and pieces of what other teams are doing throughout the day. When working on an application, it’s not at all uncommon to run across a problem that someone else has already addressed. If you know the right person to ask, sometimes you can save yourself a great deal of time and headaches just by having a discussion with a coworker. The open office environment helps make this possible. Read more on Improving on the Open Office Environment with Slack…

Negotiating Your Project Management/Development Approach with Clients

During the sales process, it’s really easy to spend all of your time talking with clients about their software needs while ignoring questions of process. But so often it’s organizational differences that causes all of the headaches. Clients often lack the authority to make quick decisions, have competing priorities, or are blocked by IT policies. This can present real challenges and perhaps some unpleasant surprises for agile teams once development starts.

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When Collaboration Goes Wrong

“Collaboration” sounds dreamy when people say it—as if everything will be great because we worked together on a project. But simply put, collaboration isn’t easy.

This post explores the challenges of collaboration, not in a negative light, but in the spirit of learning from challenging times to make interactions more positive in the future. Read more on When Collaboration Goes Wrong…

On Being “The Expert” & Disagreeing with Your Client

At Atomic, we pride ourselves on not just engineering the right code for a client, but on actively helping them shape their software to be the best possible solution for whatever problem they want to solve.

There’s a huge feeling of satisfaction that comes with the ability to own a product like that, but also a large amount of responsibility. Caring about whether or not a piece of software is solving the right problems (on top of being engineered the right way) introduces a whole new set of potential issues—the kind of issues that you can’t bash out at a command line. Read more on On Being “The Expert” & Disagreeing with Your Client…

7 Guidelines for Constructive Design Feedback

If you’re a client working with a polyvalent team of makers at Atomic Object, one of the most valuable things you can do is to give feedback throughout the project. This may come as a shock to you. In the past, you might have been involved in a project where feedback wasn’t welcome—or even treated as downright hostile. If that’s the case, let me be the first (and hopefully not the last) to apologize on behalf of consultants everywhere. Read more on 7 Guidelines for Constructive Design Feedback…

Don’t Suffer in Silence – A Template for Scary Conversations

People are complex and not always direct in their communication. This dynamic has the potential to create misunderstandings that can lead to a lot of anxiety when developing software. I’ve felt that anxiety myself from time to time, and it can be poisonous, leading to a lack of sleep, a lack of trust, and ultimately reduced productivity. But there’s a better way to handle confusing situations.
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5 Ways to Prepare for a Successful Meeting with a Client

Client meetings can be stressful and nerve-wracking or exciting and productive. Outlined below are five basic concepts I try to uphold for meetings to help improve the chances for a productive and successful client meeting. These concepts fall under the category of preparation for me. By being prepared, I’m better set up to meet and exceed client’s needs, and that is always good for business. 

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Tips for Joining an Existing Software Team

At least once in our lives, most of us get thrown into an ongoing project and forced to bring ourselves up to speed as quickly as possible. This process is rarely simple and can often feel like being thrown into a pool of ice cold water—stressful, frustrating, demoralizing, numbing.

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Using Video to Share Your Design Ideas

I was recently on a project that required a fair amount of remote design reviews.  In this case, the designers were often asked to submit their designs digitally and did not have the luxury of presenting their work in person. The client would review the designs at a later time and get back to the designers with feedback. Read more on Using Video to Share Your Design Ideas…